Robert D. ‘Bob’ Laitinen
Jan. 25, 1934 — Aug. 1, 2014
Robert D. “Bob” Laitinen passed away on Friday, August 1, 2014, at the age of 80.
He is survived by wife, Doris G. Laitinen (Gilbertson); daughters Janet Vaughan (Jim) and Kathi Cabeke; grandchildren Mitchell Vaughan, James Cabeke and Sam Cabeke; and siblings Fred Laitinen (Rose), Kenneth Anderson (Joanne) and Dennis Anderson (Chris). He will also be missed by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by daughter Linda J. Laitinen-Frenk; parents Fred Laitinen and Mabel Laitinen-Anderson; and siblings Donald Laitinen, Dorothy Prudlow and Gary Anderson.
Bob was a very loving husband to Doris for 61 years — he was the love of her life. They shared a rare, special, enduring love that inspired many.
As a father and grandfather, Bob’s gentleness was ineffable, his heart immeasurable, his kindness constant. His hands big and strong yet so tender while tucking his daughters into bed every night saying “God bless you”. Grandpa Bob always had a way of making the simplest of things a joy! A walk through nature, a drive in the car or a project at the work bench ... being with Papa was a big event! One of the treasured memories is playing and rough housing at Christmas with their special Papa Bob! His passion for music has been passed on to them, another generation blessed by a wonderful man.
Bob went into the home remodeling and repair business for himself after hanging drywall for 20 years. He worked for many families remodeling their homes in Waukesha County. His business thrived by word of mouth. His workmanship was executed with integrity, ingenuity and love.
Bob and his best friend Harlan started playing guitars about 30 years ago in Harlan’s garage. This shared love of music lead to forming the Spring City Grass bluegrass band, during which he expanded his musical talents and learned to play the mandolin. They played as regulars at Friday Night Live in Waukesha as well as many other venues in the area.
Through RSVP, Bob volunteered with their Intergenerational Fair, sharing his love of music by demonstrating his mandolin skills and letting the children have a go at it themselves. Through his joyful enthusiasm he has inspired many children in Waukesha County. Through the Intergenerational Fair Bob met The Playin’ Folk, a string band that played for nursing homes, schools and holiday events for 12 wonderful years.
Next to his wife Doris and their family, music was the love of his life. Sharing his God-given talents through his beautiful tenor voice and stringed instruments were a gift to anyone who would listen. Bob recently joined the choir at Living Spirit Church in Big Bend, where he gained fast friendships by being the Bob we all love.
Bob joined AA in 1972, had 42 years of sobriety and was much loved and respected by his fellow AA members.
Bob’s favorite author was David Hawkins and among all the books Hawkins wrote one sentence stood out for Bob: “Be kind to everything and everyone including oneself all the time, without exception.”
With full hearts of gratitude, Bob’s family would like to thank Dr. Zahir Rashid, ICU doctors and the talented and caring staff at Froedtert Hospital for their great effort to give us more time with our amazing husband, father and friend. The integrity of his dignified care is revered. We are humbled and eternally grateful.
A memorial visitation will be held on Saturday, August 23, from 10AM until memorial service at 11:30AM at Church and Chapel Funeral Home, 380 Bluemound Road (at highways J and JJ, four blocks south of Interstate 94), Waukesha.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Living Spirit Church, W229-S9060 Clark St., Big Bend, WI 53103, in Bob’s name are appreciated.
Bob will live on in the hearts of those he touched forever.
Church and Chapel Funeral Home of Waukesha is serving the family. For more information, call 262-827-0659 or visit www.churchandchapel.com to view the online obituary or leave condolences.